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VICSERV Breakfast Meeting with Minister Foley re Mental Health Community Support Services

On June 16th, Minister Foley spoke at a breakfast meeting to which VICSERV invited VMIAC and Tandem to give presentations to the Minister.

On June 16th, Minister Foley spoke at a breakfast meeting to which VICSERV invited VMIAC and Tandem to give presentations to the Minister.

Tandem Executive Director provided the following address:


Good morning everyone,
To continue the wordplay of the morning around the crossroads at which we find ourselves, I believe we are in fact beyond the crossroad and are on a downward slope! We need to regain an upwards path.
The number one concern for Carers is that Consumers get the help they need early in the illness, early in the episode and early in life. Tandem is very pleased to hear that the Minister shares these values.
We know that many people with severe mental illness will not be eligible for NDIS. Already we know that many Consumers are not receiving the help they need as they do not meet the NDIS eligibility criteria already required to access MHCSS.

This is causing increased pressure on already pressured Emergency Depts. and clinical services. It is also impacting on Carers who are losing hope and becoming consumers themselves.

We need holistic, recovery focused, family inclusive, specialized mental health support that is available in the community and well linked in with clinical services, primary health services, housing, education and employment services. There must also be provision for informal drop-in facilities offering activities and closely linked in with access to all other services.

Our second, also serious, concern is support for Carers. Research evidence tells us that Carers and Mental Health Carers in particular have the lowest health and wellbeing of any cohort ever measured. Under the NDIS there is minimal support available to Carers and any support available is tied to the needs and consent of Consumers. Carers have their own needs for support independent of the Consumer. They need to be able to have a break and sometimes regular breaks are necessary to avoid burn out. Carers need access to counselling, education about mental illness and support to manage their caring role in the face of complex, distressing and challenging situations. They need access to well-resourced 24-hr help and support lines. They need to be able to make provision for when they can no longer provide care.

With the transfer of commonwealth respite funding and the majority of MHCSS funding to NDIS, Carers are greatly concerned that the little support currently available to them will be further diminished and their situation will be even worse.

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